Chapter-by-Chapter Summary of Joshua

The book of Joshua has 24 chapters. Chapters 1-12 recount the conquest of the land, chapters 13-21 recount the partition of the land, chapter 22 describes a near-civil war, and chapters 23-24 describe Joshua’s final days.

Summary Joshua 1: Yahweh orders Joshua to cross the Jordan River in order to conquer the land. Joshua informs the people and reminds the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Half Manasseh about their commitment to cross over with the rest of the nation.

Summary Joshua 2: Joshua sends scouts to Jericho and Rahab saves them from the king. The scouts vow to save Rahab and her family when they return to conquer the land.

Summary Joshua 3: Yahweh promises to exalt Joshua in the eyes of the people. The Jordan River is halted and the people cross on dry land.

Summary Joshua 4: Twelve stones from the Jordan are set up at Gilgal as a remembrance for the miraculous crossing of the Jordan. Joshua also sets up twelve stones within the Jordan itself.

Summary Joshua 5: The Israelites are circumcised at the hill of foreskins, which is renamed Gilgal. The people celebrate Passover and Joshua is approached by the general of Yahweh’s army.

Summary Joshua 6: Joshua carries out Yahweh’s plan and destroys the city of Jericho.

Summary Joshua 7: The Israelites are defeated at Ai because the herem (proscription) of Jericho is violated. Achan admits his guilt and he and his entire family are stoned to death.

Summary Joshua 8: The Israelites ambush Ai and kill its 12,000 inhabitants. Joshua recites Moses’ teaching of blessings and curses upon Mount Ebal.

Summary Joshua 9: The Gibeonites dress in costume and trick the Israelites into a peace treaty. The Israelites consequently force the Gibeonites to do degrading labor.

Summary Joshua 10: Joshua protects Gibeon from the Amorites, stops the sun and moon, and conquers the land.

Summary Joshua 11: Joshua defeats the local kings who rally against him and conquers the land.

Summary Joshua 12: The kingdoms that Moses conquered east of the Jordan and that Joshua conquered west of the Jordan are listed.

Summary Joshua 13: Yahweh tells Joshua, who has grown old, to apportion the land west of the Jordan to the Israelite tribes. The land that Moses apportioned east of the Jordan is described.

Summary Joshua 14: Joshua grants Caleb the city of Hebron, just as Moses promised.

Summary Joshua 15: The boundaries and cities of Judah’s territory are enumerated. Caleb conquers his land and gives his daughter Achsah in marriage to Othniel, the man who conquers Kiriath-Sepher.

Summary Joshua 16: Ephraim is allotted its portion but is unable to dispossess the Canaanites from Gezer.

Summary Joshua 17: The sons and daughters of Manasseh are given their portion but cannot dispossess the Canaanites. When they ask for more land, Joshua tells them to clear the forests and conquer the Canaanites in the valleys.

Summary Joshua 18: Joshua sends scouts to explore and divide the land into seven portions for the remaining seven tribes. Benjamin is allotted its portion of land.

Summary Joshua 19: Joshua allots territories of land to Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan. Joshua is given the town (Timnath-serah) he requests in the territory of Ephraim.

Summary Joshua 20: In accordance with Yahweh’s command, the people designate six cities of refuge for those who kill by mistake.

Summary Joshua 21: The Levites are given forty-eight cities from the territories of the twelve tribes. The conquest and settlement of the land comes to an end.

Summary Joshua 22: Joshua sends the Transjordanian tribes home and they make an altar along the way. This enrages the Cisjordanian tribes. War is averted when the Transjordanians explain that their “altar” is actually a memorial that is not meant for sacrifice.

Summary Joshua 23: Joshua gathers the people in his old age, praises Yahweh for conquering the land, and warns that intermarriage and idolatry will cause calamity

Summary Joshua 24: Joshua recounts the history of Israel, convinces the people to commit to Yahweh, and sets up a stone as a witness. Joshua dies and is buried in Ephraim.